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In a major shake-up aimed at improving its corporate governance, Masayoshi Son’s technology investment giant SoftBank on Monday said that Vision Fund chief Rajeev Misra and three others were stepping down from its board.

These initiatives are aimed at increasing the proportion of external board directors on the board, and separating the management decision-making function from the business execution function to clarify the persons responsible for business execution, the company said in a statement.

“Four of SoftBank’s internal board directors, namely, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Katsunori Sago, Executive Vice President Rajeev Misra, and Governor and Board Member of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan, have resigned from SoftBank’s Board of Directors as of today, bringing the size of the Board to nine members with a greater proportion of External Board Directors," the statement said.

SoftBank added that the board has appointed Masayoshi Son, Ronald D. Fisher, Marcelo Claure, Katsunori Sago, Rajeev Misra and Yoshimitsu Goto as corporate officers.

Misra has been leading the $100 billion Vision Fund that made SoftBank the biggest game in the technology investment space.

The changes come after SoftBank has faced a string of challenges in its many technology investments including high profile names such as WeWork.

SoftBank has also been facing pressure from hedge fund and activist investor Elliot Management Corp, which holds a substantial chunk of its shares, to improve its governance and finances.

Misra also ran into personal controversy earlier this year after The Wall Street Journal reported that he orchestrated the exit of SoftBank’s top executives Nikesh Arora and Alok Sama. Misra had denied the allegations.

Misra and his associates conducted a campaign to eject SoftBank’s chief operating officer (COO) Arora by planting news reports against him in the media and attempting sexual blackmail, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. It also said Misra inspired a shareholder campaign that levelled charges of unethical behaviour against Arora, who was at that time Son’s anointed heir. Sama, another senior SoftBank executive who was a rival of Misra’s, was also a target of this smear campaign, the Journal reported. While Arora left in June 2016, Sama left last April.

On Monday, SoftBank also reported that its bottomline was back in the black again as it reported 627 billion yen, or $6.1 billion in profit in the September quarter, as compared to a loss of 700 billion yen in the same quarter last year.

Its Vision Fund is also back in the money. Softank reported that investments in 83 companies, which cost $75 billion, were worth $76.4 billion at the end of September.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Swaraj Singh Dhanjal

" Based in Mumbai, Swaraj Singh Dhanjal is responsible for Mint’s corporate news coverage. For the past eight years he has been writing on the biggest deals in private equity, venture capital, IPO market and corporate mergers and acquisitions. An engineer and an MBA, he started his journalism career in 2014 with Mint. "
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